First ‘Silver Balls in the City’ Tournament Raises $260 for CAHS

Holiday-themed trophies I made for the main and side tournament. This is why the tournament was so popular, right?

Holiday-themed trophies I made for the main and side tournament. This is why the tournament was so popular, right?

You may have heard rumors about a tournament held Dec. 29 at the Avenue — no, who am I kidding?  You were there.  Everyone was there.

Well, maybe not everyone.  But including the tournament director, yours truly, there were 26 entrants, a number beyond my wildest dreams and most feverish nightmares.  “The only way anything could really go wrong,” I said to myself, “is if more than 20 people show up.  And what are the odds of that?”

I’m getting ahead of myself, so let me start from the top.  Silver Balls in the City (a name suggested by Joseph, playing on both the name of a holiday event in Lansing and the time I was endlessly teased by certain persons for missing the Arcade League to go to said event) was the first tournament hosted by the Lansing Pinball League at our home base of The Avenue Café.  It was my first time trying my hand at being a tournament director and I was awfully nervous.  But as long as we had enough machines working for everyone to play at once in the four strikes tournament, it would be OK… and we should have more than enough.

Joseph has everything under control at Brackelope Master Command.

Joseph has everything under control at Brackelope Master Command.

My first sign that things might not go as hoped was when I walked into the Avenue and saw the entire upper floor dark, with all the games turned off.  It turned out they had suffered a leak as the icy roof melted, and were trying to dry the floor before anyone was allowed upstairs.  Eventually we were told we could turn all but one of the games back on.

But with 26 people, and the occasional game having to be taken out of service for malfunctions (Austin Powers first, then Fish Tales, then World Cup Soccer), we ended up with quite a lot of stacking.  Plus there was the fact that most of the state’s luminaries were in attendance, people who can play a 45 minute game of Lord of the Rings.  Everyone can thank Andy for the mysterious disappearance of LotR from the randomizer for the rest of the evening.

As I began to worry about whether we would beat last call, the tournament that I hoped would be over by midnight finally came to a close around quarter to 2, and after I instructed Joseph to remove all but the three fastest-playing games from the lineup for the last couple of rounds.

Andy and Aaron and lots of other folks mingling. It was the biggest crowd we've yet seen crammed into our little pinball alcove.

Andy and Aaron and lots of other folks mingling. It was the biggest crowd we’ve yet seen crammed into our little pinball alcove.

Aside from the malfunctions (expected) and the late night (less expected), the tournament did go pretty well.  It drew many people who had never been to The Avenue to play before, and resulted in historic first meetings between longtime Lansing League regulars and other players from around the state.  It also ended with a really suspenseful final match between home-court hero Matt P. and east Michigan powerhouse Aaron G.  All the work and stress was made worthwhile for me by the moment when Matt, having blown up the mothership in Junk Yard’s Attack from Mars video mode, turned around, threw his hands in the air, and yelled, “I saved the earth, m*****f*****s!”  Sadly, the game ended prematurely shortly afterward as Matt went to slide the notoriously too-touchy game, hit a crack in the floor, and slam tilted.

So the night ended with a victory for Aaron G. in the main four strikes tournament (and for Andy R. in the side tournament on Iron Man).  More importantly, it ended with $260 having been raised for my favorite local charity, the Capital Area Humane Society.  Although I said I’d be crazy to do it again, the truth is that I’m kind of crazy, so you can probably expect another charity tournament at the Avenue in 2016.

Aaron #2, Andy #1, Andrew #3, in the side tournament, with their tiny snowman trophies.

Aaron #2, Andy #1, Andrew #3, in the side tournament, with their tiny snowman trophies.

Chris, excited that he can now take his 3rd place trophy and go home.

Chris, excited that he can now take his 3rd place trophy and go home.

The second and first place main tournament winners, Matt and Aaron.

The second and first place main tournament winners, Matt and Aaron.  You wouldn’t have known they had just met, for all the horsing around and playful trash talking they did.

Thanks to everyone who attended, and particularly to Joseph for handling all the organizational work of pairing off matches during the tournament, Chris for staying up past his bedtime (and his waking time too, probably) to be my backup tournament official, and Alex for providing advice during the planning stages.  The official results of the tournaments follow.

Main Tournament Results

1. Aaron Grabowski
2. Matt Pries
3. Chris Tabaka
4. Todd Seaver
5. Alex Harmon
6. Andrew Rosa II
7. Dustin Frigy
7. Ahna Rosa
9. Mike Stewart Jr.
11. Aaron Holmes
11. Jarid August
11. Andy Rosa
14. Sarah Schudel
14. Greg Spahlinger
14. Amanda Grabowski
14. Bill Lembesis
18. Matthew Stacks
18. Joseph Nebus
18. Mike Schudel
21. Ryan Wood
21. Heather Kendrick
21. Scott August
24. Robert Wolverton
24. J.P. Jackson
24. Aaron Mike Brown
24. Evan Williams

Side Tournament Results

1. Andy Rosa
2. Aaron Grabowski
3. Andrew Rosa II
4. Evan Williams
5. Mike Stewart Jr.
6. Todd Seaver
7. Chris Tabaka
8. Bill Lembesis
9. Jarid August
10. Sarah Schudel
11. Scott August
12. Amanda Grabowski
13. Matthew Stacks
14. Alex Harmony
15. Aaron Mike Brown
16. Heather Kendrick
17. Mike Schudel
18. Dustin Frigy
19. Aaron Holmes
20. Joseph Nebus
21. Greg Spahlinger
22. Matt Pries

This entry was posted in News and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to First ‘Silver Balls in the City’ Tournament Raises $260 for CAHS

  1. Enjoyed reading the write up. Nice trophies. Enjoyed the pics, too.

Leave a Reply